Hog Hunting At Night: Thermal Scopes And Essential Gear
When is the most appropriate time to hunt for hogs? Honestly speaking, this is a question we hunters have asked or have been asked over and over again and with no doubt, the answer is always the same.
When the sun goes down! I mean, since hog hunting has become a popular and effective way of controlling their ever-expanding populations, these destructive feral beasts have instinctively adapted to beat the hunt by becoming nocturnal feeders in a bid to avoid being taken down during the day. For this reason, the best time to land one of these trophies is at night when they are actively feeding.
The problem is, hunting in the dark comes with its own set of challenges from limited visibility, to a high likelihood of spooking your target in the dark. Fortunately, all the odds are not stacked against you as a nocturnal hunter. With the right preparation, tools and gear, you can easily guarantee yourself a successful night hunt. And this is how!
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Get a Plan
Honestly speaking, even with the right gear and top-notch skills, you will find it impossible to land a hog at night without an elaborate plan. I mean, hunting is more or less like a game of chess so it demands to be planned for.
To be on the winning side, you should be fully aware of factors such as the direction of the wind, the feeding patterns of the hogs, your surroundings and also where the hogs are headed to. With a well-formulated plan, you will be in a better position to seamlessly locate your target and use your tools effortlessly and effectively.
After devising a practical plan, you will need a set of high-quality tools. I insist on quality because a hunter is only as good as his tools. If you have no idea of where to begin, here is an elaborate guide of what you need for a night to be successful.
1. A Quality Firearm
It goes without saying that a good firearm is one of the most important gear when it comes to hunting at night and in no way changes when it comes to hog hunting. Preferably, it will come in handy to have at least a semi-automatic rifle which you easily mount a thermal scope. I’m saying this because, most of the times hogs travel in groups and whenever you come across a herd of about 10 or so pigs, it will be easier for you to take down more than if you have a semi-automatic firearm.
If you can’t lay your hands on a semi-automatic, look for a rifle that has high precision and long range. This way, you will not be in a position to spook the pigs and you will also have the leverage to take down one or two pigs from a long distance.
2. Hunting Feeders
If you are a seasoned hunter, you must have heard of the saying bait and wait. Honestly speaking, laying out feeders is perhaps the easiest way to attract and take down hogs. This is possible because feral pigs have a highly advanced and developed sense of smell which can pick up the scent of food from approximately 5 to 7 miles away.
For this to be effective, place feeders on their tracks directing them to an open area or field from where you can take a clean shot. Some of the best bait to use on feeders include oak mast, corn, acorns, fruits and nuts.
3. Hunting Lights
There are two ways you can use lights to hunt hogs in the dark. First, you can use thermal lights which make it possible to see in the dark without producing any light or simple standard lights. Don’t over overlook normal lights because these can go a long way in helping you land that hog you badly after. The most important thing is to look for lights that are bright enough and user-friendly. After all, there is no point in carrying a light source that will jeopardize your entire mission. So, be keen on the kind of light you get.
4. Thermal scopes
Having a thermal scope mounted on your gun or a thermal light could make the difference between taking down a hog and going home empty-handed after a long cold night of hunting. In other words, they are game changers and any hunter who has been on the hunt at night will bear me witness. You see, unlike normal scopes or lights, thermal scopes operate in complete darkness.
They are ideal for night hunts because the significant difference between the night cold air and the heat produced by hogs creates a high-quality visual image of the target making it possible for you to spot hogs without having to use a normal light which can easily spook them. In simple words, thermal scopes make it very easy to identify even the smallest sources of heat produced by animals such as hogs against the low-temperature night air. With such leverage on your side, you can rest guaranteed that you will take bacon home with you.
When it comes to hog hunting, 2 different styles of thermal scopes are available.
Thermal monocular scopes or rather lights are handheld and can’t be mounted on guns. However, they are cheaper but this means that their magnifications are not that great. The biggest advantage of these is that you can scan your target without having to swing your gun from place to place.
This is more like a normal scope which can be mounted on your gun. This implies that you can aim your gun directly to the target without having to wait for it to approach your hiding spot. A simple entry level riflescope will give you a range of 200 yards while a more advanced one will pick out targets from as far as 1000 yards. These are simply fun and easy to use but you will have to cough out more money to get one.
5. Dark Clothes
Proper concealment is an important aspect of any hunt. And even if it is dark out, you need to stay hidden doesn’t change. Most of the times it is not a big deal but make sure to wear dark clothes and to avoid light ones which can be easily spotted by the hog.
Hunting, especially at night, is an art. To be successful, you need to unveil the artistic part of you, follow a good plan and always ensure that you have high-quality gear that will get the job done effortlessly and seamlessly.